Friday, 10 October 2014

6 Key Areas essential to any Retailer’s Transformation Strategy as Retailing continues to change rapidly because of digital technology

In the midst of the extraordinary change being driven by online retailing, major retailers worldwide are continually adjusting strategy to create value. But competing priorities and distractions can lead retailers to forget perhaps the most important underpinning of all strategic imperatives: customer empathy. The irony of this, and the appeal, is that based on this simple frame of reference putting yourself in your customers’ shoes most retailers already know how to win.

In the name of innovation, many retailers often implement new systems that are intended to reduce cost, improve sales and be good for customers, but, in fact, if they had listened to their customers the retailers would have learned they wanted something different.

Although all industries are still in the midst of digital transformation, other industries, such as travel and banking, aren’t as fixated on channels and haven’t fallen into this trap. They have learned to deliver seamless, convenient, non-intrusive, enabling experiences. Retailers that do the same have the best chance of balancing returns on investment and increasing share of wallet with delighted, brand-loyal customers.

Bottom-line takeaways in six key areas essential to any retailer’s transformation strategy: mobile, social media, personalized marketing, cross-channel integration, loyalty, and digital shopping.

  1. MOBILE - Mobility is perhaps the most important channel of all. Retailers need to adopt a “mobile-first” model for deployment to shoppers and associates given the inherent rapid change and ubiquity of mobile interaction. The vast majority of shoppers are now connected almost every waking hour of their day. But retailers haven’t caught up.
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA – Although shoppers are very active on social media, it’s their platform and they really don’t want the noise that many retailers generate: more than 60% of surveyed shoppers said their purchases are not influenced by social media.
  3. PERSONALIZED MARKETING – Personalisation runs hot and cold. Retailers understand the power. Shoppers are hungry for more relevant, customized experiences.
  4. CROSS-CHANNEL INTEGRATION – Customers want it all – the convenience of online shopping with the comfort and immediacy of the in-store experience. And they want to use their devices to research and price check while in stores. The tip of the Omni channel spear is “buy online pickup in-store.” It’s the most tangible, proven way to engage and identify customers across channels. 
  5. LOYALTY – Loyalty programs, when done well, are good for retailers and their customers. But retailers are not leveraging loyalty anywhere near as well as airlines and hospitality companies. Shopper satisfaction with retail loyalty programs is generally low. Although retail loyalty programs do create loyalty, and shoppers are enrolling (92%), impact could be substantially increased by improving perceived value and ease of use.
  6.  DIGITAL SHOPPING – Digital shopping (Web and mobile) continues to be an important – and threatening – channel both for transacting and influencing in-store purchases. More and more shoppers are looking to brand Web sites, e- tailers and other online competitors. With increased price transparency and expectations for faster, lower-cost delivery also comes increased threat to the bottom line. What do shoppers want? A collective experience online! No single feature is more important than the rest.

Shoppers want robust information, easy access to service, a variety of payment options, stored profile information, and real-time offers. Retailers must rely on their online experience, price and product selection to differentiate themselves from the competition.

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